princeton university ranking

Princeton University Ranking – Introduction

Princeton University is a highly prestigious Ivy League school located in New Jersey. The Princeton University ranking consistently places the school in the top tier of universities in the United States. Various national college rankings sources place Princeton University at the top. These include the Forbes college rankings, US News college rankings, and the Wall Street Journal college rankings. Before we dive into the details of Princeton rankings, let’s briefly discuss the university itself.

Princeton University, located in Princeton, New Jersey, is a small, private liberal arts college. Princeton has a long and respected history. It is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States. As a research institution, Princeton has both undergraduate and graduate programs. The high Princeton University rankings reflect the school’s prestige. Princeton employs 29 Nobel Prize winners, has a student-to-faculty ratio of 5:1, and has produced two US presidents and three active US Supreme Court justices. It is no wonder that the Princeton University rankings are so high.

In this guide to the Princeton University ranking we will address, how it compares to other Ivy League schools such as Harvard, and Princeton University ranking. Lastly, we’ll talk about how to use these national college rankings to create your college list and apply to college

If you want to learn more about the Princeton rankings, you can check out the US News college rankings. There, you’ll find Princeton rankings that specify Princeton’s strengths in a variety of areas. These include the Princeton academic ranking and other Princeton rankings. However, for the purposes of this article, we will not focus on specialty lists such as the Princeton academic ranking. 

While the Princeton rankings might seem unattainable, don’t be discouraged! Despite the high Princeton rankings, students can still be accepted through hard work and strategy.

What is the Princeton University ranking?

You probably assume you know the Princeton University ranking, especially since the school is so prestigious. But answering the question, “What is the Princeton University ranking?” is a bit more complicated. There is no definitive Princeton University ranking, nor is there a straightforward Princeton rating. Instead, you’ll find a different Princeton ranking depending on where you look.

There are various sources for national college rankings that often assign different ranks to schools. Below, we’ll go over three of the most trusted sources for national college rankings to see how each of them places the Princeton University ranking. 

Princeton University ranking in Forbes

Forbes is a business magazine that is published eight times a year. Forbes college rankings are released annually, ranking the top 500 colleges in the nation. The variables that are factored into the Forbes college rankings include alumni salary, debt, graduation rate, return on investment, and the Forbes American Leaders list. This year’s Princeton University ranking in Forbes is #1. And, in a new analysis of the economic returns students receive from attending college, the Princeton ranking is #1 as well. As you can see, according to the Forbes college rankings, Princeton is at the very top.

Princeton University ranking in US News

Next, US News is another trusted publication that releases national college rankings each year. You can use US News to evaluate the schools on your college list. The most popular US News college rankings is their Best National Universities list. Factors included in the US News college rankings include graduation and retention rates, social mobility, and undergraduate academic reputation, among many others. This year, the Princeton University ranking in US News in their Best National Universities list was #1, a position it has enjoyed for over a decade. US News college rankings also put Princeton at #2 for Best Value, #3 for Best Undergraduate Teaching, and more.

Princeton University Ranking in Wall Street Journal

Finally, the Wall Street Journal is a highly respected newspaper that publishes annual national college rankings. These college rankings can help you gather information as you build your college list. The Wall Street Journal college rankings explore a school’s resources, student engagement, outcomes, and the school environment. This year, Wall Street Journal college rankings placed Princeton at #8. The Princeton University ranking in Wall Street Journal includes over 800 national colleges and universities.

How does Princeton compare to other Ivy League schools?

princeton university ranking

You may have multiple Ivy League schools on your college list. We can look at the Princeton ratings to see how it compares to other Ivy League universities. Similar to national college rankings, Princeton University ratings will vary by source. CollegeAdvisor is an excellent resource to quickly and easily find ratings for all the schools on your college list. 

There are eight Ivy League institutions, many of which might appear on your college list. The table below outlines how the Princeton University ratings compare to the other seven Ivy Leagues. 

Comparing Princeton Rankings to Other Ivy League Universities

PrincetonA+Academics, Diversity, Value (A+)Party Scene (B+)
BrownA+Academics, Diversity, Value (A+)Athletics (B)
ColumbiaA+Academics, Diversity, Value (A+)Athletics (B+)
CornellA+Academics, Diversity, Value (A+)Athletics (B+)
DartmouthA+Academics, Value (A+)Athletics (B+)
HarvardA+Academics, Diversity, Value (A+)Athletics (B+)
UPennA+Academics, Diversity, Value, Party Scene (A+)Athletics (B)
YaleA+Academics, Diversity, Value, Party Scene (A+)Athletics (A-)

The Princeton University ranking in world ranking lists is informed by all the Princeton University ratings. Looking at these ratings, it’s no wonder the Princeton ranking is consistently high.

What is the purpose of college rankings?

National college rankings are released annually from a number of respected sources. As shown above, there is no standardized metric for measuring and ranking schools. If Princeton is your dream school, you can learn a lot from the different Princeton University rankings. However, at the end of the day, the Princeton rankings—or any college rankings—don’t tell you everything. Princeton rankings are by no means definitive, nor should they be the only deciding factor in determining what college to attend.

College rankings are essentially lists of the best universities published annually by reputable sources such as Forbes, US News, and the Wall Street Journal which helps students compare different colleges. We’ve discussed some of the different factors included in the creation of these national college rankings. Rankings may shift as criteria and weights change for different categories. For example, US News college rankings consider average alumni giving rate in their rankings, whereas Forbes considers a student’s indebtedness. The college rankings also shift to address changing school policies. For example, many schools introduced a test-optional admissions policy in response to COVID-19. As a result, test-optional rankings are now widespread.

The effects of college rankings

College rankings can significantly impact institutions’ ability to fundraise from alumni, recruit faculty, and more. For this reason, colleges often care a lot about their rankings. However, not everyone agrees that national college rankings are a positive or useful thing. For one thing, some believe students, parents, and schools place too much importance on college rankings. Other negative effects include schools recruiting students simply to improve their rankings or students choosing their colleges by rankings alone.

In addition to college rankings of the best schools, we recommend students look at other metrics such as net cost, faculty engagement, learning culture, post-graduate outcomes, and graduation rates for students with similar backgrounds. Keep these other factors in mind while looking at Princeton University rankings. 

Which Princeton University rankings can you trust?

With many sources for college rankings producing different Princeton University rankings, which should you trust? The Princeton ranking could be #1 on one list and #3 on another. We haven’t even touched specialty lists such as the Princeton academic ranking or the athletics ranking. Nevertheless, Princeton University rankings typically stay within a certain range.

Although Princeton rankings vary from source to source, you can generally trust the most popular sources for national college rankings. We’ve discussed a few in this article—Forbes college rankings, US News college rankings, and Wall Street Journal college rankings—but there are others that use different methodologies to rank schools. So, which Princeton University rankings can you trust? In short, you can trust any Princeton ranking that 1) comes from a reputable source and that 2) publishes its methodologies.

Princeton University ranking

All three sources we discussed in this article publish their selection criteria, data collection, and overall methodologies used in the creation of their national college rankings lists. Read through each of these methodologies to determine how much weight you will give that list. As discussed, if certain factors you care about are not included in the ranking process, you should look for a different ranking source. Remember, stay open-minded. College rankings should not be the main factor in creating your college list. For more support, CollegeAdvisor’s Admissions Experts and former Admissions Officers can help guide you through this process and build a college list tailored to your needs.

Princeton University ranking vs. Harvard ranking

The Princeton University ranking on world lists is often close to the Harvard ranking. Both are among the eight Ivy League schools in the US. In this section, we will take a closer look at how the Princeton University rankings compare to those of Harvard University. We will look at specific categories of Princeton rankings for a full picture. As the Princeton academic ranking is likely to be similar to that of Harvard, we will focus on other criteria. We will use the US News college rankings to make this comparison.

Princeton RankingHarvard Ranking
National Universities#1#3
Best Value Schools#2#1
Best Undergraduate Teaching#3#18
Most Innovative Schools#30#14
Top Performers on Social Mobility#186#250
Undergraduate Research/Creative Projects#5#2
First-year Experiences#9#32
Senior Capstone#1#22

This table shows how the Princeton University rankings compare to the Harvard rankings. Though both schools are Ivy League institutions, their rankings differ depending on which factor you focus on. For instance, Princeton is ranked #3 in the nation for Best Undergraduate Teaching while Harvard is at #18. This could make a big difference in the student experience and in a student’s ability to succeed academically as an undergraduate. This is important to know especially for people such as first-generation college students who typically need more academic support. This may be a factor in why the Princeton ranking for First-year Experiences is much higher than Harvard’s.

Princeton University ranking trends

Princeton University rankings may shift over time depending on the criteria used by ranking organizations. That being said, the Princeton University ranking in US News has stayed at #1 on their Best National Universities list for the past 11 years. This is quite a feat. Understanding Princeton ranking trends and the Princeton University ranking on world lists can help you in your college application process. 

However, as mentioned, there are other specialized Princeton rankings that may be more relevant to your admissions journey. Make a list of variables that are important to you and research those specific rankings. You may find schools that are stronger or weaker in certain areas that aren’t reflected in the annual overall ranking lists. While building a college list, don’t be afraid to look deeper than just the top national college rankings.

Princeton University ranking and applying to college

Princeton University ranking

Students should not let the high Princeton University rankings keep them from applying. Remember that Princeton rankings are only a small piece of the college admissions puzzle. It is important to stay organized throughout the application process and be strategic. CollegeAdvisor offers a number of resources to help students navigate the Princeton application process. 

In the web panel below, students hear Princeton alumni discuss their admissions and undergraduate experiences to learn more about what it takes to apply to and attend Princeton University.

CollegeAdvisor also has a How To Get Into guide for Princeton. The guide covers Princeton GPA requirements, optimal Princeton SAT Scores, details on the Princeton application, preparing for an interview, and more.

If you are nervous about the essay portion of the Princeton application, the CollegeAdvisor Princeton Essay Guide offers students detailed guidance on how to approach the Princeton supplemental essays. 

Additionally, if you are worried about how to afford a Princeton education, this Financial Aid Guide offers a first-hand account of how one Princeton graduate paid for school. The Princeton alumna not only discusses her personal experience but also how the Princeton financial aid process works in general. 

The Princeton rankings reflect the great quality of education, athletics, and student life the university has to offer. Research as many Princeton University rankings as you can to give you a full picture of life at Princeton. Remember, the Princeton University rankings can only offer a glimpse of the years you may spend on campus.

This article was written by Ciara Ayala. If you want to learn more about Princeton, we’ve got you covered.’s network of 300+ Admissions Experts (and former admissions officers) includes graduates from top universities. Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 576-0953.